Introduction

Today's garden flowers can be tomorrow's weeds - find out what you can do to reduce the spread of invasive weeds from your garden.

Highlights

Conservation Week 2017.

About 75% of land plant pests and 50% of freshwater weeds are garden escapes.

Pest plants threaten the survival of native plant species and threaten the long-term survival of some native animals.

Your garden could be a threat

Today’s garden flowers can be tomorrow’s weeds.

Garden plants can easily escape and establish themselves in bush next door or hundreds of kilometres away, where they can overshadow and displace native plants. For example:

  • passionfruit vines creep over walls
  • boxthorn berries are eaten by birds and their seeds dispersed
  • old man’s beard seeds are distributed by wind
  • wandering willie that has been dumped by gardeners sprawls over forest floors.

Many pest plants will establish from discarded root fragments, cuttings or seed-heads. Once established, these plants can quickly replace native vegetation and are often further distributed by birds, animals, wind or water movement.

Weed seeds may also be carried on clothes and footwear or in loads of gravel and dispersed to new locations where they can establish new infestations.

Water weeds can be spread between bodies of water on fishing equipment, boats and trailers.

What you can do

You can reduce the spread of invasive weeds.

  • Learn to recognise pest plants and don't grow them in your garden. Take a look at these Plant me instead booklets.
  • Look out for pest plants and remove them. Find out more about controlling weeds.
  • Dispose of pest plants wisely – take your garden waste to an approved landfill or transfer station, burn it or bury it – don’t dump it. 
  • Report to your local authority or regional council when you observe a plant that you have not seen before spreading out of control. You could prevent a serious plant pest problem. 
  • Find out which of your garden plants could escape into native bush. 
  • Buy garden plants that you know will not escape and become pests.

Recognise plants that could be weeds

Garden pest plants may:

  • spread easily
  • produce lots of seeds or berries
  • grow quickly
  • be difficult to control
  • grow from stem or root fragments
  • smother other plants
  • grow in many different conditions. 
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